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3 Secrets For Saving Money & Building A Better Life

Three years ago, Veronica and I decided to never buy anything with debt ever again.

No cars, credit cards, and if possible… even our home.

We also agreed to have a strong savings, protective insurance and even a family trust.

We believe money is far more important than most people think. Money is less stress, it's more freedom, it's better health, it's a life of vibrancy, ability and options. And most importantly, money is security.

But many people don't realize how close they really are to the antithesis of money… Bankruptcy, foreclosure, calling in awkward favors, frustration, anxiety or even living on the streets.

What would happen if you lost your job tomorrow? What would happen if you got pregnant? What would happen if you got sick or were in a bad car accident? Or what about your family… if you died, would they be okay?

Do you have have 8 months of emergency savings? Do you have good health insurance? What about disability or life insurance?

Am I starting to stress you out?

Good. 

We need to stop being stupid about money. We need to reevaluate our needs, we need to hustle harder than we are, and we need to start being smart with every single spending decision we make. Like Dave Ramsey always says,

“Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”

Suze Orman blasts this concept into fast motion in this short overview on what it means to “make it in America”. Take a look.

But where did Veronica and I begin?

1. We Hustled and Made 10% More
I know this sounds easier than it is. But I'm not saying go make an extra $1,000 per month. I'm saying go make an extra $100-$500 per month. Sell items on Craigslist, ask for overtime at work, get a night job, or start recycling. Just figure out a way that you can make an extra 10% more per month. That's the key.

2. We Made a Stupid Simple Budget
I hate spreadsheets. I'm a creative and I lack a functioning analytical portion of my brain. So I made a stupid simple budget in Word that had a few sections organized by month. How much money we made, how much each bill was, how much we had left over (if any), and how much of what we had left over, would be saved or spent. That was it. And it all fit on one page. It was this document that helped us realize how much “free money” we really had and it also informed us if “going out” was really worth it.

3. We Went on a Debt Slashing Rampage
Personally, we decided to slaughter our debt. When we got married in February of 2010 we had $28,000 in debt. A mix of the IRS, credit cards, and car payments. So instead of eating out, buying new clothes, or having gym memberships we decided to double down on all payments toward debt. It was brutal. Our life sucked. But 20 months later and thanks to that extra 10% of income, we paid it off completely. Boomshakalaka!

So what's stopping you from murdering your debt, saving more and living the life you want?

Awesome photo by Lightstock

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Comments

40 Responses

  1. Boom! I’m with you Dale, being debt free is totally worth the temporary sacrifice it takes to get there. I’m excited to teach my kids you CAN live a debt free life! – My wife and I currently attacking our mortgage and then we will be completely out. I truly believe because we are putting our hand to this, God will accelerate us paying it off, it’s going to happen faster than we can even imagine! (Eph 3:20)

  2. My husband & I are firm believers in this as well. When we got married last year, I had roughly $40,000 in student loan debt, we both owed on our cars, and we bought a small starter home. We are fortunate to work at a company that offers us a match in 401k and so we decided to max out our yearly 401 contribution – we both now have 31% of our paychecks going towards our retirement. We doubled up on car payments and took care of those within a year, and immediately took out low-interest loans against both vehicles to pay off the student loan debt. We continue to put everything extra towards the house and these two loans – with the goal of being debt free in 3-5 years, and retiring in 8-12. This may seem crazy (as we are both under 30) but we truly believe it is important to be able to live free from worry of debt. We want to raise children in a household where we aren’t living from paycheck to paycheck – where we don’t need to worry about money at all. Not that we will have infinite amounts of it, but we will hopefully have just enough to sustain a simple yet fulfilling life for our family, for as long as necessary.

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